Appeals Court Keeps Arizona’s Abortion Restrictions on Hold

Jun 3, 2014

A federal appeals court this morning issued an injunction blocking the state from telling doctors how they can and cannot use certain drugs for abortions. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

Cathi Herrod of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy.
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

Doctors for Planned Parenthood have been using RU-486 in combination with another drug through the ninth week of pregnancy. But, a law that was set to take effect in April said it could be used here only according to the label approved by the Food and Drug Administration. And that limits the use through just seven weeks. Appellate Judge William Fletcher of the 9th Circuit said that restriction is unjustified, saying it interferes with the right of women to terminate a pregnancy without advancing women’s health. But, Josh Kredit of the anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy said lawmakers were entitled to impose the restriction.

“The Legislature, when they passed this law, they had medical evidence in front of them as well. And when there’s a split in medical evidence, you defer to the Legislature. Or, at least, you don’t just say we’re choosing this one over the other one,” Kredit said.

But, Fletcher said that there was no evidence showing the FDA protocol was safer. In fact, he pointed out that lawmakers said they were following that protocol because RU-486 is dangerous. Yet Fletcher said that FDA protocol required that women be given three times the amount of the drug than Planned Parenthood was using. The court ruling keeps the law on hold until there can be a full-blown trial on the merits.